WRC: Series could return to control tires in 2017

2016-07-07 15:42:47

The World Rally Championship could return to a control tire for the 2017 season.

The FIA opened the WRC up to multiple tire firms in 2011 after Pirelli ran its control tire for three years.

Though Michelin has supplied all the factory teams since then, DMACK and Pirelli are also active in the series, with DMACK coming close to ending Michelin's unbeaten run with Ott Tanak in Poland last weekend.

WRC Promoter chief Oliver Ciesla says a decision on whether to return to a single tire supplier will come in the next month.

"This is something we have been thinking about for several months now," Ciesla told Autosport. "We can see pros and cons for it, but a decision is on the agenda and we will make a decision soon, most likely in a month."

Volkswagen motorsport boss Jost Capito is adamant the WRC should keep open tire competition.

"I think it would be completely wrong," he said. "We have Pirelli, Michelin and DMACK in at the moment and we have good competition from those guys. Some are better in this rally, some are better in another rally; it gives us a variety on the results.

"I think it's perfect as it is now."

M-Sport client liaison manager Rich Millener suggested the promotional investment a single tire supplier might put into the WRC could be an attraction.

Pirelli was praised for its efforts during its period as control supplier and for initiatives such as the Pirelli Star Driver program that helped launch Hayden Paddon and Tanak.

"There are pluses and minuses," said Millener. "The drama of Rally Poland wouldn't be there without tire competition. DMACK is putting a lot into the championship, you only have to look around the service park to see that. The single tire would risk losing that.

"On the other hand, as we've seen from other championships, if there's help for the promoter and we can grow the championship via concentrated investment then it could work. Personally, after a rally like Poland, I'd like it to stay open."

Originally on Autosport.com

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